The idea for this article came from FFToday, a site well-known for its Crank Scores. “Crank Scores rank the consistency of a player (Crank = Consistency-Rank). Crank Scores is a concept designed to help identify players that consistently give the best performance on a weekly basis in head-to-head leagues.” I noticed they explained why they prefer to have consistent players on their team but without backing it up with any statistics.
I also noticed that quarterbacks and running backs are much more consistent than wide receivers so following that theory, a top QB or RB would have more value than a top WR because odds are that the top QB or RB won’t let you down as often as the top WR might. I decided to test this out to determine if the consistency of players at specific positions can affect your overall draft strategy.
The first step to this analysis is to find out which position is more consistent than others. In order to determine this, I copied the statistics of the top 16 quarterbacks, top 40 running backs, top 55 wide receivers as well as the top 16 tight ends, kickers and defenses from 2005 to 2008 into a spreadsheet. I obtained all those statistics from one of my leagues on MFL. Afterwards, I calculated the standard deviation of each player’s fantasy points for weeks one to sixteen (I never use week seventeen in my calculations since many players are resting for the playoffs). One of the problems with standard deviation is that players with higher average scoring will have a higher standard deviation. For that reason I used the coefficient of variation which is equal to the standard deviation of the player’s fantasy points divided by his average points per week. All you really need to understand is that the lower the number, the more consistent the player is but if you would like to know more you can look here. After this, I took the average of these coefficients by position over four years and compiled them in the following chart:
As I had previously believed, quarterbacks are much more consistent than the other positions while wide receivers and tight ends are the most inconsistent. In theory this should increase the value of quarterbacks over wide receivers and tight ends since come playoff time, your top QB is less likely to let you down that your top WR is. For example, imagine the season lasts only three weeks and one player has 10 points in all three weeks while the other has 5 points for two of the weeks and 20 points in the third week. In a head to head league, the consistent player would be better than the inconsistent for two of the three weeks. However, I decided to test this and find out if this was also true for a starting lineup of nine players.